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Chrift for a fign of old; for that is not the temper of mind which this difpenfation is to anfwer, but rather to draw men out from thence into a principle, into the new life and Spirit itself; where fuller demonftrations (of a deeper nature) are given to the foul, than outward miracles are. Feel the power that is revealed, feel the life that is made manifeft, let in the light of the day which fhines; this will scatter the darkness from thee, and clear up the things of the day unto thee. The pure miniftration of power, the pure miniftration of life, the light of the everlafting day is come. Oh! wait the opening of the eye that fees it, and be conceived and brought forth in the womb of it.
Some further QUESTIONS anfwered, concerning the NEW COVENANT.
HAT were thofe days, after which the New Covenant was to be made?
Anfw. They were the days of the law and prophets, the days of the first covenant, the days of God's exercifing and making trial of that outward people the Jews, by his outward and literal covenant. After the full expiring of those days, another covenant was to be made.
Queft. 2. What are the days wherein the new covenant is made?
Anfw. They are the days of Chrift, the days of his power, the days of the ministration of his Spirit.
Quest. 3. What is the house of Ifrael and Judah, with which this new covenant is to be made? Is it the Ifrael and Judab according to the flesh? The Ifrael and Judab according to the old covenant; or according to the new?
Anfw. When the old covenant is paffed away, the confideration of Ifrael and Judah (after the flesh) paffed away alfo; and the new covenant is fitted for, and made with, the new Ifrael and Judah, fo that, as the apoftle faid, He is not (now, according to this covenant) a Jew, that is one outward; nor is that circumcifion, which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew, which is one inward, &c. The gofpel breaks down the outward confideration between Jew and Gentile, and brings up another confideration in both; fo that the promises and bleffings are not to either in their old ftate, but as they are gathered into, and spring up in, the new feed.
Queft. 4. Is this covenant faultless? Doth it mend that which God found amifs in the other? Doth it keep more firmly to him than the other did? Is there no falling away from it?
Anfw. Yes, it is faultlefs, it doth help the defects of the other. It doth keep more firmly to God. There is no falling away from it, by thofe with
whom it is fully made, and who are established in it. But in the paffage and travel, there is danger to the foul which is not faithful and watchful, left it be drawn from that which gives it right to, and entrance into, the For as the beginning is in the faith, and in the obedience; fo is the continuance, growth, and progrefs. Thus the gofpel was preached, He that believeth, and is baptized, fhall be faved; which believing includes not only a beginning to believe, but a going on therein, and continuing to the end. For fo is the promife and word of Chrift, He that continueth to the end fhall be faved. But if any man draw back from the Lord, from his Spirit, and return into the way of death with the other fpirit, the foul of the Lord will have no pleasure in him.
Object. But then this aljo is like the first covenant, depending upon the creature, and is defective as the other was.
Anfw. No; this covenant doth not depend upon the creature: but upon God's love, mercy, and power, which hath no limits in this covenant, but may extend itself as far and as long as it pleafeth. It dependeth upon the principle of his life, upon the power of his Spirit freely difpenfed to the creature; yet the creature that will reap and enjoy this, muft come to it in the faith and power which is of the principle, and in the fame must abide with it. For God forceth none to come, but draweth and maketh willing; neither doth he force any to ftay, but perfuadeth and maketh willing to ftay. This is the manner of his working in the day of his power. now, if the foul hearken to the other fpirit, and his drawings, and depart from the Lord, and will not hearken and be won again, the love and pleasure of the Lord turns from it, even according to the law of this covenant. For there is a law of this covenant, according to the nature of it (according to which the Lord works) as well as there was in the other.
Now fearch ye the fcriptures concerning this thing. Is there any promife of falvation, but upon coming to the Son; or to them that come, without abiding? Did not Chrift tell his own difciples, that as they were in the vine, in his love, fo they must abide there? It was the law his Father gave him, and the fame law he giveth them. It is natural to man to backflide; and in his backfliding from that wherein is the life and virtue, how can he but mifs of the life and virtue of it? Therefore, in this covenant, the Lord hath provided that which will heal the backflidings, which will work out all in man freely, which will powerfully preferve him, &c. But he must come to it (he must come to the Son, he must come to the waters) and he muft alfo abide there. Yet this is not required of him to do of himself neither, according to the law and courfe of the old covenant; but of him in the new ability, which is in the new principle of life, wherein he is daily to receive it: yea, it is with him, and near him; as near him to be daily drawing him into, and preferving him in life, and within the limits of the covenant, as the tempter is to be drawing him into finning against the covenant, and fo into death.
Queft. 4. What doth God promife to do for the new house of Ifrael and Judah in this new covenant?
Anfw. He promifeth to put his laws into their mind, and to write them in their hearts. (Oh! happy he that knoweth these laws, this mind, this heart, this manner of writing!) He promifeth to be their God, and that they fhall be his people. (This covenant is a powerful covenant; it will make fo indeed!) He promifeth to become their teacher, and fuch a teacher as all fhall know him, from the leaft to the greateft, even fo as they shall not need to feek out abroad after the knowledge of him. (It is fo where this covenant is made, even with the least with whom it is compleated; but it is not fo where it is only begun, or in fome few degrees carried on). He promiseth to take away that which alone is able to hinder the good things of the covenant; for he will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their fins and iniquities will he remember no more. This alfo is witnessed according to the foul's growth in, and receiving into it the strength of the covenant. For many find finning against the covenant, and the remembering of their iniquities in their paffage; yea, judgment doth continue in the refining time, till that be made to pass away thereby which the judgment is to; but in the covenant itself is reft, joy, peace, fatisfaction, life, and powerful redemption and righteoufnefs for evermore.
Quest. 5. How is this covenant made, and how doth the foul enter into it, grow up in it, and reap and enjoy the fweet bleffings and promifes of it?
Anfw. It is made in the faith and obedience of the foul to the gofpel, to the power of the endless life. It is made according to the promife. The promife is to him that believes and obeys the gofpel. There is no other way in it but union with Chrift in the faith, from which flows obedience to the holy commands and requirings of his Spirit. All unbelief and disobedience is out of this holy bleffed covenant. They are ftops in the way, and hinder the foul both from entering into, and from abiding in, the covenant; yea, the gates of hell may eafily prevail against them who do not believe, obey, watch and pray, but enter into the temptations of the enemy, which draw into death, as the motions and requirings of the Spirit lead into life.
A brief ACCOUNT concerning SILENT MEETINGS; the Nature, Ufe, Intent, and Benefit of them.
HIS is a great mystery, hid from the eye of man, who is run from the inward life into outward obfervations. He cannot fee either that this is required by the Lord of his people, or any edification therein, or benefit thereby, but to the mind that is drawn inward the thing is plain; and the building up hereby in the life of God, and fellowship one with
another therein, is fweetly felt; and precious refreshment from the presence of the Lord received by them, who fingly herein wait upon him according to the leadings and requirings of his Holy Spirit. Now to open the thing a little to the upright-hearted, if the Lord please.
After the mind is in fome measure turned to the Lord, his quickenings felt, his feed beginning to arife and fpring up in the heart, then the flesh is to be filent before him, and the foul to wait upon him (and for his further appearings) in that measure of life which is already revealed. Now this is a great thing to know flesh filenced, to feel the reasoning thoughts and discourses of the fleshly mind stilled, and the wisdom, light, and guidánce of God's Spirit waited for. For man is to come into the poverty of self, into the abafedness, into the nothingness, into the filence of his fpirit before the Lord; into the putting off of all his knowledge, wisdom, understanding, abilities, all that he is, hath done, or can do, out of this measure of life, into which he is to travel, that he may be cloathed and filled with the nature, Spirit, and power of the Lord.
Now in this measure of life which is of Chrift (and in which Chrift is, and appears to the foul) there is the power of life and death; power to kill to the flesh, and power to quicken to God; power to caufe the foul to cease from its own workings, and power to work in and for the foul what God requires, and what is acceptable in his fight. And in this God is to be waited upon and worshipped continually (both in private and in publick) according as his Spirit draws and teaches.
For the Lord requireth of his people not only to worship him apart, but to meet together to worship him, in the feasons, and according to the drawings, of his Spirit and they that are taught of him, dare not forfake the affembling of themselves together, as the manner of fome is; but watch against the temptations. and fnares, which the enemy lays to deceive them therefrom, and to disturb their fenfe by, that they might not feel the drawings of the Father thereunto.
And this is the manner of their worship. They are to wait upon the Lord, to meet in the filence of flesh, and to watch for the stirrings of his life, and the breakings forth of his power amongst them. And in the breakings forth of that power they may pray, fpeak, exhort, rebuke, fing, or mourn, &c. according as the Spirit teaches, requires, and gives utterance. But if the Spirit do not require to speak, and give to utter, then every one is to fit ftill in his place (in his heavenly place I mean) feeling his own meafure, feeding. thereupon, receiving therefrom (into his fpirit) what the Lord giveth. Now in this is edifying, pure edifying, precious edifying; his foul who thus waits, is hereby particularly edified by the Spirit of the Lord at every meeting. And then alfo there is the life of the whole felt in every veffel that is turned to its measure; infomuch as the warmth of life in each veffel doth not only warmthe particular, but they are like an heap of fresh and living coals, warming one another, infomuch as a great ftrength, freshness, and vigour of life flows into all. And if any be burthened, tempted, buffetted by Satan, bowed down, overVOL. II. Z z
borne, languishing, afflicted, diftreffed, &c. the eftate of fuch is felt in Spiri and fecret cries, or open (as the Lord pleaseth) afcend up to the Lord for them, and they many times find eafe and relief, in a few words fpoken, or without words, if it be the feafon of their help and relief with the Lord.
For abfolutely filent meetings (wherein there is a refolution not to fpeak) we know not; but we wait on the Lord, either to feel him in words, or in filence of fpirit without words, as he pleaseth. And that which we aim at, and are instructed to by the Spirit of the Lord as to filent meetings, is that the flesh inevery one be kept filent, and that there be no building up, but in the Spirit and power of
Now there are several states of people: fome feel little of the Lord's prefence; but feel temptations and thoughts, with many wanderings and rovings of mind. These are not yet acquainted with the power, or at least know not its dominion, but rather feel dominion of the evil over the good in them. And this is a fore travailing and mournful ftate, and meetings to fuch as thefe (many times) may feem to themselves rather for the worse than for the better. Yet even thefe, turning, as much as may be, from fuch things, and cleaving (or at least in truth of heart defiring to cleave) to that which difliketh or witneffeth against them, have acceptance with the Lord herein: and continuing to wait in this trouble and diftrefs (keeping close to meetings, in fear and fubjection to the Lord who requireth it, tho'with little appearing benefit), do reap an hidden benefit at prefent, and shall reap a more clear and manifest benefit afterwards, as the Lord wafteth and weareth out that in them, wherein the darkness hath its strength. Now to evidence that the Lord doth require these filent meetings, or meetings after this manner filent, it may thus appear.
God is to be worshipped in spirit, in his own power and life, and this is at his own difpofe. His church is a gathering in the Spirit. If any man fpeak there, he must speak as the oracle of God, as the veffel out of which God fpeaks; as the trumpet out of which he gives the found. Therefore there is to be a waiting in filence, till the Spirit of the Lord move to speak, and also give words to fpeak. For a man is not to speak his own words, or in his own wifdom or time; but the Spirit's words, in the Spirit's wisdom and time, which is when he moves and gives to speak. And feeing the Spirit inwardly nourifheth, when he giveth not to speak words, the inward fenfe and nourishment is to be waited for, and received as it was given when there are no words. Yea, the miniftry of the Spirit and life is inore clofe and immediate when without words, than when with words, as has been often felt, and is faithfully teftified by many witneffes. Eye hath not feen nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, how and what things God reveals to his children by his Spirit, when they wait upon him. in his pure fear, and worship and converse with him in fpirit; for then the fountain of the great deep is unfealed, and the everlasting springs furely give up the pure and living water.